Blasting News reported Monday on the story of a man who was violently dragged out of his seat on a united airlines flight out of Chicago. The airline had reportedly overbooked the flight and needed seats for its own employees. Close up images of what turned out to be a doctor have now caused outrage on the Chinese social media. The reason for the upset is the doctor in question looks Chinese, or at least has asian features.

First there was DontFlyUnited

The original story has already caused damage for United Airlines, with the hashtag DontFlyUnited used repeatedly on Twitter.

Basically the airline needed four seats for members of their own staff who had to be in Louisville the next day. Flight crew asked passengers for four volunteers to leave the flight, telling them they would receive $400 and a hotel stay. There were no bites. The reward was then upped to $800, but still no one wanted to volunteer. Four people were then chosen at random, using a computer, with a couple leaving the plane voluntarily. However the third person was the doctor, who had to see patients at a hospital in Louisville the next day and refused to deplane. That’s when the trouble started. Security staff dragged the man, kicking and screaming, from his seat, splitting his lip along the way.

While it is unsure if the doctor in question (and who has not been named) is Chinese, it didn’t take long for China’s version of Twitter to erupt with comment. Many users of the social media platform Weibo were shocked and horrified at the incident, with many calling for a boycott of United Airlines.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

Weibo document show their anger at United Airlines

According to CNBC, Koukou Liang noted on his Weibo post that whether the passenger in question is Asian or not, the whole thing was abominable. Another user said there is no need [for United Airlines] to apologize or explain, saying the man should please sue the airline until it collapses.

He added the words “Boycott fully.”

CNN reports that the incident was the trending topic on Weibo Tuesday, attracting some 100 million views. They quote a Chinese-American comedian, Joe Wong, who has reportedly appeared on the “Late Show with Letterman” many times, as saying many Chinese people believe they have been subject to discrimination. According to Wong, they keep silent as they don’t want to lose face.

CNN also noted in their report that China is the second largest aviation market worldwide. United Airlines reportedly says in their promotional literature that they operate more nonstop U.S.-China flights – as well as more destinations in China – than any of their competition. If that country’s social media users have their way, this may not be for long.

While initially the airline explained that they needed the four seats for their own staff members, the company apologized after the severe backlash on social media. United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz released a statement saying that the incident was “upsetting,” going on to say the airline apologizes for having to “re-accommodate” passengers. He added that they are working with authorities and conducting their own review into the incident.

New United Airlines hashtag trending on Twitter

This might have been a case of too little, too late, as by Tuesday morning a new hashtag is trending on Twitter. #NewUnitedAirlinesMottos is doing well, with Twitter users coming up with such gems as “Where every flight is a red eye,” “Not enough seating, prepare for a beating,” “We're the first airline ever to cause turbulence on the ground” and “We have an offer you can't refuse.

No really.”

In case any readers missed the original viral video, it is included below.